Member Spotlight: Sleep Outfitters

Columbus Chamber
The Columbus Chamber provides connections, resources and solutions that help small businesses and Fortune 500 enterprises grow Central Ohio's economy.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
Sleep Outfitters is dedicated to helping people get a great night’s sleep. Sleep is as important as diet and exercise for living a healthy, productive life. Since we spend one-third of our lives on it, your mattress is the most important piece of furniture in your home. When we outfit a customer with a mattress, we must make sure we get it right.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
logo-1Certainly, one of the most important benefits of chamber membership is the ability to network with other Columbus businesses and businesspeople. To be successful in a community a business needs to be part of that community. There is no better way to be a part of the Columbus business community than to be a chamber member.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
Sleep Outfitters maintains a very close relationship with our suppliers and manufacturers. Our fates are inextricably linked. Ours are shared concerns, shared challenges and shared victories. Those relationships enable us to stay abreast of evolving consumer and industry trends.

What do you think differentiates you from your competitors?
I started this company with one store in 1983. I was fresh out of college. I was a woman in a male-dominated field, and while I built the business, I gave birth to two lovely daughters, one of whom works with me today. Men don’t face those kinds of business challenges. Most of our customers are women. Many of them know my story. I believe they identify with it, and often times it’s the reason they shop us first.

What is your company culture like?
Remember what I said earlier about the necessary interdependence of diet, exercise and sleep for healthful living? That’s what guides and informs the way we interact with customers. We use a custom sleep assessment in order to try to find just the right bed for the customer’s need. Nearly everyone who walks through a Sleep Outfitters door is there to buy a mattress, but they have many different reasons for wanting or needing a new mattress. We are there to sell a bed, but just as important, we are there to determine which mattress set best serves that customer’s need.

What advice would you have appreciated hearing when first starting your career?
Perhaps, if someone had lectured me on the virtue of patience, it would have been beneficial. But it can be difficult for a hard-charging young entrepreneur to be patient about anything. Looking back, we opened 20 stores in our first 20 years in business, but we were learning. In the last 13 years, we’ve opened 140 stores for a total of 160 and growing.

How do you achieve work/life balance?
Work hard, play hard. That may be a cliché now, but you need to put as much energy in to your leisure time as you do your work, lest you lose your edge. Lying around the house all weekend makes it hard to get started on Monday, but keeping a full weekend schedule of exercise, travel, concerts, sporting events, etc. keeps your energy up so you’re ready to take on the new work week.

Why do you think Columbus is a great place to do business?
It is home to one of the world’s great universities, The Ohio State University. That makes for an interesting and diverse culture. But Columbus’s identity is also informed by its strong Midwestern values of work, family and community. But as diverse as the culture may be, we all have at least one thing in common. We need to sleep. So, why not sleep well … by visiting Sleep Outfitters?

 About Sleep Outfitters
Sleep Outfitters’ parent company, Innovative Mattress Solution (iMS), operates 160 stores in six states – Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama – under the Sleep Outfitters, Mattress Warehouse and Mattress King names.